Reactive Champion is a blog for anyone who lives with and loves a reactive, fearful, anxious, or otherwise difficult dog. Blending science, seminar reports, and personal stories, my goal is to help others better understand their dog’s crazy behavior. I want people to know they aren’t alone in their struggles, and that there is hope for improvement.
Most of all, I want to help strengthen and deepen the relationship between my readers and their dogs. While there is an emphasis on dog sports, my belief is that it’s not about winning so much as the journey. After all, it’s not just about titles and ribbons; overcoming adversity is what makes someone a champion.
Maisy is a 6-year-old corgi-poodle mix (which just proves "designer dogs" can and do shed!). Maisy was born in a puppy mill, and I didn’t get her until 16 weeks old, which means she missed out on the vital early experiences that puppies need to grow into a well-socialized adult. Maisy also lost the genetic lottery; she began displaying symptoms of allergies at the tender age of 6 months, has chronic back problems, and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder in 2010. She takes daily medications and supplements for these issues.
Despite all this, Maisy is an amazing dog. Pretty much everyone that meets her is charmed by her funny antics and her muppety appearance, and I am no exception. Maisy is my heart dog, and I love her more than I ever imagined possible. Whether we’re hiking or training or going to dog shows or just hanging out at home, I cherish my time with her.
Maisy loves tennis balls, bully sticks, hiking off leash, and chasing chickens (although we try to prevent that last one). She is wicked smart, learns quickly, and loves to train. She was nationally ranked in APDT rally in 2009, and her full name is URO1 Maisy CD-C RL1X RL2 CGC.
My name is Crystal Thompson. I’m a social worker by day, and a dog trainer by night. I taught at PetSmart for about a year, and now work for Paws Abilities, where I teach reactive dog classes and do private consults. I believe in training without pain, fear, or intimidation, but strive to meet people wherever they are. We’re all just doing the best we can, and my goal is to help others learn how to train in ways that furthers their relationship with their dog.
Although I write about various techniques for working with dogs with behavioral problems, this blog is not intended to replace an in-person consultation with a canine professional. If you are experiencing problems with your dog, please consult with a professional before attempting any of the techniques described in this blog. I assume no liability for injury to you or your dog incurred by following these descriptions or procedures.
I can be reached at reactivechampion (at) gmail (dot) com